Writer and artist Robert Morris incorporated a range of approaches over the course of his prolific career. Though his earliest artworks were Abstract Expressionist paintings, he went on to participate in the early stages of significant movements such as Minimalism, Post-Minimalism, Process art, Land art, and Performance art. The artist blended these movements' approaches together into complex works both deeply influenced by the concerns of their time and unwilling to be reduced to any one interest.
A serial collaborator, Morris worked with Minimalist dancer Yvonne Rainer, performance artist Yoko Ono, and choreographer (and first wife) Simone Forti, amongst others. One particularly well-known collaboration was a performance called Site (1964), in which Morris moved plywood sheets to reveal Schneeman painted in white, posed as Édouard Manet's Olympia. The piece was born of the period's zeitgeist: collaboration, experimentation, gestural simplicity, vulnerability, and conceptual rigour. He held these values close throughout the various facets of his entire career, with his sculptural approach foreshadowed in performances such as Site.
A significant early Morris sculpture is Untitled (L-Beams) (1965), for which he placed three matching L-beams in different positions (on its side, upright, lying down), emphasising how the object's orientation changes its perceived kinetic potential. For his contemporaneous process-based sculptures, however, he used softer materials, such as felt and mirrors. In Card File (1962), he brought steel and wood together with paper index cards that record occurrences between the work's conception and completion, such as being interrupted by artist Ad Reinhardt. In such works, he combined his interests in performance, process, and Minimalism toward a vibrant field of hybridised experimentation.
Morris' post-Minimalist felt pieces echoed his process artworks in their experimental materials and deceptively simple gestures. Untitled (Pink Felt) (1970) combines earlier sculptures' Minimalist ethos and the then-popular scatter aesthetic towards a piece reminiscent of the collapsed physical body, still buzzing with potential energy. In the same year as Untitled (Pink Felt), the artist closed his exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art to emphasise a shift in his priorities from art to activism. By simultaneously working through a range of approaches, the artist developed a fluid working dynamic that led to surprising combinations.
In his critical essays too Morris played a central role in post-war American art. He was a leading writer on Minimalism especially, alongside colleagues such as Donald Judd. His final exhibition before his death in 2018 was titled Banners and Curses. For his 'Curses', he shaped fabric dipped in resin over clay letters, while he printed his 'Banners' with images from art history, culture, and politics, integrating the textual and visual explorations that had occurred in tandem throughout his practice to a final resting place of hybridised thought.
In April 1971, an exhibition opened at what was then the Tate Gallery in London. The artworks in the show looked broadly industrial: steel plates, wooden beams, sandbags, boxes. The point of these was that they should be – a new word at the time – 'interactive'. In the event, they proved rather too much so.Given the chance to interact with what...
Artist Robert Morris, whose career stretched for more than half a century, and embraced vanguard dance, sculpture, Land art, and quite a few other modes, has died at the age of 87. His death, of pneumonia, in Kingston, New York, was confirmed by his wife, Lucile Michaels Morris, to Ken Johnson in the New York Times.
'I have a strong credo that an exhibition must embody real objects,' says curator Matthieu Poirier prefacing a walkthrough of The Brutal Play, in which works from Carl Andre, Donald Judd and Robert Morris occupy the Fondation CAB in Brussels. 'These objects remind the viewers of their own bodies.'
“When racism and sexism are no longer fashionable,” the Guerilla Girls asked in 1989, “what will your art collection be worth?” Predicting that “the art market won’t bestow mega-buck prices on the work of a few white males forever,” their printed notice listed 67 female artists (several of whom are now on...
Unfolding across all three floors of Hauser & Wirth New York, 22nd Street, A Luta Continua is the first United States presentation of the Sylvio Perlstein Collection. Curated by David Rosenberg, the exhibition presents more than 360 works by some 250 artists. Among these are Josef Albers, Carl Andre, Diane Arbus, Hans Bellmer, André Breton,...